Updated 9 April 2020
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and Revenue, along with their agencies, have announced a number of business supports to help businesses address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 virus. The announcement by the three main banks that they will support Irish businesses through this period has also been welcomed. Businesses are being encouraged to use all available Government supports to help them respond to this emergent situation. The following supports are available to impacted businesses to help them to weather the working capital issues arising from the outbreak.
Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)
- €450m in funding is being made available under the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme for eligible businesses impacted by Covid-19.
- Loan Features: Amounts of between €25k and €1.5M per applicant at a maximum interest rate of 4%, terms ranging from 1 – 3 years & unsecured loans of up to €500,000. Interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans.
- €200k in funding is being made available under the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which will be released in tranches, to provide longer term loans to businesses impacted by Covid-19.
- Loan Features: Amounts of between €100k and €3M per applicant at a maximum interest rate of 4.5%, terms ranging from 8 – 10 years & unsecured loans of up to €500,000. Interest-only repayments are available in certain circumstances.
- Applicants must first submit an Eligibility Application Form to the SBCI. If eligible, the SBCI will confirm that to the Applicant in writing. The Applicant must provide the eligibility confirmation to the relevant bank when applying for a loan.
- Under the Credit Guarantee Scheme, unsecured funding of up to €1,000,000 is available for terms of up to seven years. Loans under the scheme are available from AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Full detail of the scheme is available on the SBCI website.
- The banks are adopting a customer-focused approach to businesses providing emergency working capital, payment flexibility on loan facilities, the provision of trade finance and foreign currency products, and the prioritisation of loan decisions.
- Tax Returns Businesses experiencing temporary cash flow difficulties should continue to send in tax returns on time.
- Application of Interest The application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities.
- Debt Enforcement All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.
- Tax Clearance Current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
- RCT (Relevant Contract Tax) The RCT rate review scheduled to take place in March 2020 is suspended. This process assesses the current compliance position of each subcontractor in the eRCT system and determines their correct RCT deduction rate, i.e. 0%, 20% or 35%. As this process may result in a subcontractor’s RCT rate increasing due to changes in their compliance position, the review is suspended.
- Subcontractors and agents are reminded that RCT rate reviews can be self-managed in ROS. Subcontractors can check if their rate should be lower and can then ‘self review’ to get that lower deduction rate.
- Customs Critical pharmaceutical products and medicines will be given a Customs ‘green routing’ to facilitate uninterrupted importation and supply.
- Revenue said that businesses, other than SMEs, who are experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties should contact the Collector General’s office on 01 7383663. Alternatively, these businesses can engage directly with their branch contacts in Revenue’s Large Corporates Division or Medium Enterprises Division.
- A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme is available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business. Details of these supports are being finalised.
- Businesses may be eligible for funding through Microfinance Ireland, which offers loans to micro-enterprises (sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees). In response to the current outbreak, funding available through Microfinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000, as an immediate measure to specifically deal with the exceptional circumstances micro-enterprises are facing. Loans are available at an interest rate of 4.5% for LEO applicants and 5.5% for direct applicants & loan terms of up to 3 years. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie.
- A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.
- In addition to their current range of business supports to microenterprises, LEOs can also provide business continuity vouchers from €2,500 to assist in preparing any business continuity issues that arise in the current challenging environment.
- The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and DBEI will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with the objective of avoiding mass layoffs and buying time for firms to work through the short term disruptions.
- The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Udaras na Gaeltacha grant supports will be available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- The DBEI has updated its checklist on Business Continuity Planning which provides a checklist of preparatory actions for businesses in responding to Covid-19. That and other relevant information and links can be found on the DBEI website.
- Firms that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short Term Work Support by contacting their local Intreo Office or visiting gov.ie. Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are encouraging employers to retain employees where possible and have worked closely with Revenue to set up a temporary wage subsidy scheme to help pay workers who would otherwise be laid off.
Important- Eligibility criteria will apply for any finance facility sought.
If you have any queries or require assistance with business support matters, please contact MC2 Accountants on 021 4861486 and ask to speak with a member of staff, or you can email us at email@example.com.